‘Decolonize Oceania! Free Guåhan!’: Communicating resistance at the 2016 Festival of Pacific Arts

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It’s time we confronted the fact that, for nearly 400 years, the state of the island has also been colonial.  It is the unchanged and unrepentant shadow cast upon our unshackled destiny.  (Pacific Daily News, ‘Transcript of Gov. Calvo’s remarks during the annual State of the Island Address,’ March 31, 2016, http://www.guampdn.com.)

Guåhan (Guam) Governor Eddie Baza Calvo made these remarks during the annual State of the Island Address delivered on March 7, 2016.  His speech also mentioned issues such as: self-determination, the US military buildup plans for the island, and the 12th Festival of the Pacific Arts. Calvo’s speech focused on the Festival, held in Guåhan from May 22-June 4, 2016:

Over 3,000 Pacific artists will join ours in the world’s most beautiful display of solidarity, fellowship, and progress. This is a time for us, my dear people, to rediscover our roots and bond in the glory of our history and our customs.  Celebrate the talent and courage of Guam’s greatest thinkers and masters of our traditions. Discover just how brilliant this Pacific Ocean shines with the cultures and talents of islanders throughout.

Calvo’s words touch on colonialism, culture, history, and tradition.  Such discourse at once signals the specificity of the struggle for Guåhan to face and confront its colonial political status and ongoing militarization, while also marking FestPac as an event that would hold expansive possibilities for connecting the island with other peoples throughout Oceania. 

Oceania Resistance

Researcher profile

Na’puti, Tiara R. & Frain, Sylvia C. (2017). ‘Decolonize Oceania! Free Guåhan!’ Communicating resistance at the 2016 Festival of Pacific Arts. Amerasia Journal, 43(3), 2-34. Paper available at: https://doi.org/10.17953/aj.43.3.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Report by Pacific Media Centre

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